St. Louis Cardinals: It looks like another lost season for Reyes
By Matt Graves
One of the St. Louis Cardinals’ highest-ranked prospects in the last few years has still not been able to contribute at the MLB level. What happened now?
It isn’t often that teams get prospects into the top 20 in the MLB and that player does not make a big impact at the MLB level. Sadly though, it happens nonetheless and so far, that has been the unfortunate case of the St. Louis Cardinals prospect, Alex Reyes.
Once upon a time, Reyes was ranked as the #6 prospect by MLB.com and while that was back before the 2017 season, he has been all over top prospect ranking charts since 2014-2015. The former international signee has just 53.0 career innings and can’t seem to catch a break.
Reyes debuted in 2016 at the age of 21 and I had the personal pleasure of watching the fireballers debut at Busch Stadium on August 9th, 2016. The perfect ninth inning he threw then would set the tone for the rest of the season as he went on to post a 1.57 ERA over 12 games (five starts) over 46.0 innings pitched that year.
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The team was buzzing and it seemed like Reyes was going to be a part of the rotation for a long time as fans had been promised during his rise to the MLB.
Sadly, Reyes left Spring Training in 2017 with an elbow injury that kept him out the whole year, then in 2018, Reyes suffered more setbacks before making one start with the Cardinals.
In that game, Reyes made it just four innings before it was clear something was wrong. His velocity dropped like an anchor and while he didn’t give up any runs, he left the game with what ended up being a torn labrum that kept him out the whole season.
Now to Spring Training in 2019, Reyes was very lightly penciled in as a starting option but after he broke his hand, he can’t seem to shake soreness in his pectoral.
This is another tough break in what has been a career of them for the righty.
This is perhaps one of the greatest examples of why a prospect shouldn’t be overvalued or “untouchable.” In 2017 or 2018, Reyes could’ve netted the Cardinals any target they wanted in the trade market. While he still has plenty of time to contribute to the MLB roster, the late start to his career may signal that injuries will be a bigger barrier than for most.
If Reyes takes the rest of the year off and gets himself right, hopefully, he can be a part of the rotation next year. Reyes has not even pitched enough to shake his rookie eligibility. It’s a sad story for a guy who has worked hard to get himself in shape, but his body just seems to be against him at every turn.
Reyes turns 25 this month and by now should be in his fourth season in the league. He is a free agent after 2023 but still has plenty of time to contribute, he just may need a bit of a mulligan. The 100 MPH fastball and deadly curveball is still there, he just needs to be healthy.
Prospects don’t win Championships is a very important thing to remember and while oftentimes top 20 prospects in the game go on to lead teams to the playoffs, there is no guarantee. Reyes is the perfect example of that and let’s hope he can find a way to still carve out a solid career.